Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy based interventions have been shown to decrease depressive symptoms as well as reduce caregiver burden and anxiety (Pinquart & Sørensen, 2006; Parker et al., 2008;Gallagher-Thompson & Coon, 2007). Fairly robust treatment effects were observed for CBT interventions although the number of studies in the reviews and meta-analyses were small, so caution is needed in interpreting these results. It is noteworthy that several of the studies on which the reviews were based selected for caregivers who showed depressive or anxious symptoms.
Caregivers with depression are the most likely to benefit from receiving CBT based interventions and the effectiveness of this intervention for this group underscores the importance of careful assessment and screening. As noted by Gallagher-Thompson (2007) “individual CBT appears to be very effective for those caregivers with significant levels of depression, and group CBT-based interventions are effective for those who are highly stressed but not necessarily clinically depressed.” The importance of providing interventions to caregivers that match their needs will enhance the outcomes for those caregivers, in part because the caregiver is likely to observe the interventions as effective and will likely continue with the treatment more so than if they intervention was not meeting their particular needs. (Zarit & Femia, 2008).